Indo-Russian Bilateral Trade Is Insignificant

New Delhi, July 27 | Updated: Jul 28 2004, 06:13am hrs
Despite the considerable potential of bilateral cooperation, Indo-Russian economic relations are at a low level, according to Nikolay N Stepanov, deputy trade commissioner of Russian embassy in New Delhi.

Relations between India and Russia are extremely important for us. But considering our potential, bilateral trade is insignificant, he told mediapersons on Tuesday.

There are two basic problems in the trade relations. Firstly, India had not yet recognised Russia as an open market economy and secondly, it had imposed anti-dumping duties on 10 chemical products, he explained.

We are looking for more understanding from India. There has been a slight improvement in trade between the two countries in this financial year, Mr Stepanov added.

Many opportunities are available to expand our economic cooperation and some high-technology areas have been identified including space, ports, infrastructure, telecommunication, transportation, railways, science and technologies, industry and strategic areas, said Mr Stepanov.

The investment opportunities are immense, yet exports from India to Russia totalled 1.34 per cent of Indias entire exports, not counting oil, while imports were 0.97 per cent in 2003.

The major problem was that the Indian business community was yet to accept the Russian market economy and the investment opportunities, he said.

There is a long-term programme of economic cooperation between India and Russia in science and technologies. This is a governmental programme. We are working in this context, attracting the private sector as well, he explained.

There is goodwill on the Russian side. Russia is quite positive about working with India and we are trying to win mutual trust, said the deputy trade commissioner.

Mr Stepanov said the economic front, which had been a weak component of Indo-Russian strategic partnership, was expected to witness an upswing under the Congress-led government.

He said India was not recognising the Russian bank guarantees and this was the biggest hurdle in the strengthening of the bilateral trade relations between India and Russia.